Looking for Meaning in All the Wrong Places: Country Music and the Politics of Identity*
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© 2018 by the Southwestern Social Science Association Objective: This study argues that country music can be viewed in terms of identity politics that seeks to define an American identity. Methods: A textual analysis of country music songs is used to illustrate the various components of this American identity associated with the U.S. South and West. Results: Six key dimensions of the country music American identity are identified-–the goodness of the common man, family values, patriotism, race, religion, and nostalgia. Dissenting views on several themes are also illustrated. Conclusion: U.S. country music can be viewed as the symbolic politics version of redistributive politics that defines values to be accepted and cherished as well as values to be denigrated and shunned.
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